FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Paul Kelly (818) 914-4761 SEELING BLAZES NEW TRAIL IN PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE MOHNTON, Pa. -- Angelle Seeling's path to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing started when her husband asked her for a favor,...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Kelly (818) 914-4761
SEELING BLAZES NEW TRAIL IN PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
MOHNTON, Pa. -- Angelle Seeling's path to NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing started when her husband asked her for a favor, and she went a bit overboard.
Kevin Seeling was heading with his U.S. Marines company to the Gulf War in November 1990 when he asked his wife to watch his street motorcycle and take it for a spin once in a while.
When he returned to the United States in summer 1991, he was stunned when he saw his bike. There was a wheelie bar bolted on the back, a large drag-racing slick tire and an air shifter.
Angelle Seeling had done more than take the bike for a jaunt. She had started to drag race her husband's bike in bracket races at State Capitol Dragway in Baton Rouge, La.
"He didn't know anything about it," Seeling said. "He was like, 'What the heck did you do to my motorcycle?' I told him he was bringing it to the track, and he was really mad."
Not anymore. Seeling, who recently moved from Louisiana to Americus, Ga., is one of three women competing this season in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. Seeling, Stephanie Reaves and Karen Stoffer became the first women to race on two wheels at a NHRA national event since Vicki Farr competed in Pro Bike in the early 1980s.
Seeling will aim for her first victory at the 12th annual, $1,515,050 Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals, Sept. 12-15 at picturesque Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. The race is the 16th event in the 19-event, $27-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1996.
Since her debut in July at Denver, Seeling has become a contender for victory on the Star Racing Suzuki GSXR. She has two semifinal finishes and is one of only four riders in NHRA history to make a pass quicker than 7.50 seconds with a run of 7.497 seconds at the U.S. Nationals.
"This is my personal dream and goal," said Seeling, 26. "Everybody is so supportive."
PIONEER ELECTRONICS KEYSTONE NATIONALS PRO STOCK BIKE NOTEBOOK
--Hot Hines: OK, name the hottest rider in NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle competition entering this event.
If you said John Myers or Dave Schultz, good guess. But you're wrong.
Rookie sensation Matt Hines has appeared in the final round of the last three NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national events, with victories at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals in July at Denver and the Champion Auto Stores Nationals in August at Brainerd, Minn.
Hines, from Whittier, Calif., also rode his Vance & Hines Suzuki GSXR past Myers in the final of The Wax Shop Pro Bike Dash special event during the U.S. Nationals earlier this month at Indianapolis.
Hines is the only rider besides Schultz and Myers to win two NHRA national events in one season this decade.
--Nice boss: Angelle Seeling is able to combine her passion for Pro Stock Motorcycle racing and her job as a registered nurse in a Georgia hospital thanks to a very understanding boss.
"They're wonderful," Seeling said. "I give them my racing schedule, and they give me my work schedule. They just give me a schedule for three months, and all the days that I'm racing will be scratched off."
Seeling works at Crisp Regional Hospital in Cordele, Ga.
--Role model: Angelle Seeling disagrees with Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley: She knows she is a role model.
"Now there is a possibility because me, Stephanie and Karen have all proved that," Seeling said. "I think it will be easier for the next girl who comes along. She won't be met with as much doubt as we were."
--Record ride: The NHRA elapsed-time national record should fall at this event, if history is any indication.
National records were set the last three years at the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals. Dave Schultz set the mark of 7.598 seconds in 1993 and 7.532 in 1995, and John Myers made a stunning pass of 7.467 seconds for a record last year.
--Welcome aboard: Stephanie Reaves has brought several new sponsors to NHRA Winston Drag Racing for her debut this season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, including Victoria's Secret women's clothing and Revlon cosmetics.
"Most of these companies had never been approached about getting involved in racing," Reaves said. "This is a new market for them that hasn't been tapped."
Reaves is a track manager at Oxford Dragway in Oxford, Maine.
--Sizewise: While many Pro Stock Motorcycle riders must shave weight from their machines to approach the minimum weight of 600 pounds with rider, Angelle Seeling faces a unique problem.
She is just 5-foot-1, 100 pounds, so the Star Racing team must add nearly 70 pounds of lead to her bike to make weight. Lead is bolted everywhere on the bike frame. Even the foot pegs where Seeling places her feet during a run are filled with lead.
"It's an advantage in some ways or a disadvantage in others," Seeling said of her weight. "It's a disadvantage because I don't have as much weight as some of these heavier guys.
"Take Rick Ward, for example. He's got a 200-pound body driving his bike. If he veers toward the wall, he just leans a little bit and pulls it back. If I do, and I lean over, the bike just laughs at me and keeps going toward the wall. So I have to use so much more of my body weight and fight it so much more."
But there is one big advantage to Seeling's petite frame.
"I'm so small on the motorcycle that there's no wind resistance," Seeling said. "When I tuck in, I've had fans and the NHRA Safety Safari say the bike comes down track, and there's no one on it."
--No rivalry: It's no secret that an intense rivalry rages between the Star Racing team of riders John Myers and Angelle Seeling, and the Sunoco Racing team of Dave Schultz and Stephanie Reaves.
And while Myers and Schultz are respectful, but intense, rivals, Seeling insists that hasn't carried over to her relationship with Reaves.
"There's no rivalry between me and any of the other racers," Seeling said. "I'm not doing this to beat anybody or prove anything to anybody. It's just something I want to do."
--Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. Sept. 13 and is followed by a night-qualifying session at 7 p.m. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. Sept. 14, with final eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sept. 15. Sportsman competition starts at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 12.
--Tickets: Tickets are available for the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals. Call Maple Grove Raceway at (610) 856-7812 for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased at Ticketmaster outlets. To order tickets by phone from Ticketmaster, call (215) 336- 2000.
--On TV: The Nashville Network (TNN) will televise 60 minutes of live final-round competition from the Pioneer Electronics Keystone Nationals at 5 p.m. (EDT) Sept. 15. --On the Web: The NHRA home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.goracing.com/nhra/ offers more information about NHRA Winston Drag Racing, including qualifying and eliminations results, news, point standings, statistics, driver biographies and video clips. -30-
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